After Wilhelm Pretorious was found guilty of treason in South Africa, he demanded to be given conjugal visits with his wife in jail. He further asked the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for the right to have a mobile phone in jail.
The court found out that there is no law or part of the Constitution that allows conjugal visits and that when jailed there is the limitation of rights.
Wilhelm Pretorious is a member of the Boeremag members who shot into infamy after claiming responsibility for bomb attacks one of which killed a woman back in 2002.
This group had also plans to assassinate former President Nelson Mandera in order to destroy South Africa’s democracy.
In 2013, the leader of Boeremag, Lets Pretorious, was sentenced to 20 years in prison while his two sons Wilhelm Pretorius and Johan Pretorious were sentenced to life in prison.
His son number three Kobus Pretorius who was the “master bomb maker” was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years of that sentence suspended.
Wilhelm, 41, got married in 2017 while incarcerated at Zonderwater Correctional Facility based in Tshwane. His wife desired to have a child and applied for permission to have access to artificial insemination.
This request was denied at the beginning by the Correctional Services but later the decision was reversed and the couple granted permission to use AI to have a child.
According to information from Judge Jody Kollapen, Pretorious’ wife fell pregnant and later gave birth to a child.
Pretorious asked the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to have conjugal visits with his wife once a month for 3 hours. Further, he asked court to allow him to have contact visits every weekend and during public holidays and that he be allowed to use a cell phone. He stated that he needed to enjoy his right to establish and maintain healthy family relations.
“He relies on the right to marry and found a family located in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the right to bodily and psychological integrity and the right to have access to reproductive health services and the right to access health care services” said Kollapen.
Pretorius is aware that his constitutional rights are limited while in prison but he was contending those limitations. He said the limitation on movement and those that required to maintain the law are okay but the others are unconstitutional.
On having a cell phone in prison, Pretorius argued that prisoners have a constitutional right to communicate with and be visited by their next of kin or spouse.
The court found out that South Africa laws do not expressly recognize conjugal visits. This is not consistent with the notion of incarceration.
“In conclusion, I find that the right to conjugal visits is not part of the rights that the Constitution guarantees to prisoners and that the current policy of the Department guarantees to prisoners and that the current policy of the Department of Correctional Services guarantees to prisoners and that the current policy of the department prohibits conjugal visits does not constitute a limitation on the freedom that imprisonment entails.”
On having a cell phone, Kollapen indicated that there are a lot of opportunities for contact hence the demand for a cell phone could not be sustained and cell phones pose security risk in the prison. The judge indicated that elsewhere a smuggled phone was used to plan a prison break.
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